Brian Wilson played Pet Sounds at Tanglewood, June 18, 2016, the second concert on the Popular Artist series at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It took Mr. Wilson about three minutes to knock the cynicism out of me and by the end of this two and a half hour show, I was a true believer. As the concert loomed on my calendar, my plan was to disparage latter-day rock critics who rave about an album that was put away soon after it’s 1966 release. The various musical innovations of Brian Wilson that characterize Pet Sounds were either not noticed or simply lost on us who were bored by the AM radio sound and eager to bounce headlong into the realm of Fresh Cream, Freak Out, and Blond on Blond, just to name 3 other 1966 albums.
But this was a great show and by the end of the opening song, Heroes and Villians, we were won over, as much for his simply charming stage presence as for his musical genius. The way things are today, even if your Crawdaddy subscription has lapsed, everybody knows all the crap Mr. Wilson has been through over 50+ years; the mere fact that he’s up and about is worthy of our admiration. When he left the stage some 34 songs later, though, he did so with our affection too, which we were happy to return. The show ended with Love and Mercy, his late ’80s song and pointed us in the direction of the 2014 movie about him bearing the same name, which he has described as a “very factual” representation of his life around the time of Pet Sounds.
Beach Boy Al Jardine was in the band, playing guitar a few feet away from Wilson, as was his son Matt, who took a couple turns singing falsetto parts that were an essential piece of the Beach Boys sound. Also on board for this tour is Blondie Chaplin, the South African singer and guitarist who first joined the Beach Boys in the 1970s and who did long stints with the Rolling Stones, too. First song of the seven encore numbers was Good Vibrations, recorded at the same time as Pet Sounds, but left off the album. It was given a pulsating reading today – they fairly blew the roof off the joint! Oh yeah, there was also Barbara Ann, Help Me Rhonda, Fun, Fun, Fun – it was a hell of a show, with one of the most exciting encores of all time!
Tanglewood 2016 pop, rock, jazz schedule
Tanglewood concerts June 2016
June 17 | 7 pm Shed | Dolly Parton
June 18 | 7 pm Shed | Earth, Wind & Fire
June 19 | 2:30pm Shed | Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds
June 21 | 7 pm Shed | Jacksone Browne
June 24 | 8pm Seiji Ozawa Hall | Chris Botti
June 25 | 5:45 pm Shed | A Prairie Home Companion at Tanglewood with Garrison Keillor
July 1 | 8 pm Shed | Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration
July 2 | 7 pm Shed | Bob Dylan and His Band, Mavis Staples
July 3 & 4 | 7 pm Shed | James Taylor with his All-Star Band
July 10 | 2:30 pm Shed | Boston Pops with very special guest Seth MacFarlane
July 31 | 8 pm Seiji Ozawa Hall | Chick Corea Trio featuring Christian McBride and Brian Blade
August 13 | 8 pm Shed | John Williams’ Film Night
August 23 | 7 pm Shed | Train with Andy Grammer
August 26 | 8 pm Shed | “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with Orchestra
August | 8 pm Shed | Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma
September 1| 8 pm Shed | Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!
September 2 | 8 pm Shed | The Boston Pops with the B-52s
About Tanglewood: box office, tickets, getting there, nearby hotels
Tickets for the 2016 Tanglewood season, $12-$124, go on sale January 24 starting at 10 a.m. through Tanglewood’s website, www.tanglewood.org, SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, and at the Symphony Hall Box Office at 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston MA. Tanglewood brochures with complete programs and information on how to order tickets will be available in early February by calling 617-638-9467. For further information, please call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492 or visit www.tanglewood.org. 2016 Tanglewood schedule – PDF.
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Getting around the Tanglewood campus
The Tanglewood campus, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center comprises several hundred acres in the towns of Lenox and Stockbridge. It is the location of the Koussevitsky Music Shed and Ozawa Hall, where hundreds of thousands attend concerts and a variety of events, including picnics. We always advise new visitors to arrive early and take their daily walking exercise wandering the beautiful Tanglewood grounds.
Here is a dynamic map of the Tanglewood grounds, with photos and information for such points of interest as Aaron Copland Library, Highwood Manor House, The Glass House, and The Lion’s Gate.